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From the Window to the Wall: What Does It Cost to Furnish a House

nicely furnished house

Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, Target or Amazon – this is where most of us get our first pieces of furniture. You know, the kind that you buy for utility only, not because they match each other or have a theme.

But when you move into that first big apartment or buy your first house, you’re ready to get adult furniture. The kind that matches (and might even have a warranty). It’s exciting and fun to pick out, but it adds another expense on – the cost to furnish a house.

Want to learn what it costs to really furnish a house or a large apartment? Read all about it below.

Where to Shop for “Real” Furniture

Before we break down costs, let’s talk about where adults buy furniture. Most of the time it’s in person, at a furniture store. But we’re seeing more people shop online now, at sites like Wayfair.

Adults don’t shop on sites like Craigslist or Facebook marketplace unless they’re looking for something very specific. Those places are great for cheap finds, but they’re not high-quality (most of the time).

Ikea is kind of in the middle when it comes to furniture quality. Some of their higher-end products, like cabinets and installed-furniture, can last a lifetime.

Other things, like their particle board cubby dividers, not so much.

Remember that you’re shopping now for things you may have your entire life. Spending more upfront means they’re going to last longer, in general. So before you get overwhelmed by the price lists below, keep that in mind.

The Cost to Furnish a House: Starting with the Living Room

Let’s start with the living room. It’s where most people put their biggest couch and TV. You may even have a few bookshelves and a rug.

Depending on the size of your family, you might have children’s items too, like toys or bouncers/swings. Here’s a general list of what furniture items a living room needs.

  • A couch (avg $1000)
  • Other seating ($200)
  • Tables, bookshelves, TV stand ($500)
  • Rug and Decor ($300)
  • Large TC ($200)

Grand total for living room furnishings – $2,200

That’s not including things like DVD players, throw pillows, blankets, or any child-related accessories. It’s also assuming the room has lighting built in, and you don’t have to buy lamps or overhead fixtures.

Kitchen and Dining Room

Next, let’s talk about the real center of the home – wherever the food is. Most homes and apartments come with all the big appliances, like stoves, dishwashers, and a refrigerator. That saves you a lot of money, even if they’re not the stainless steel finish you want.

However, you’ll need pots and pans, kitchen items like plates and silverware, and a dining room table and chairs.

That all comes out to about $1,500 or more, depending on the kind of dining room table you choose. If your kitchen has an island or some sort of seating built in, that’s a good way to cut costs.

If you’re really trying to do things cheaply, you can pick up mismatched but functional flatware and dishes at your local thrift store.

So with the living room and the kitchen together, we’re looking at $3,700.


Another place most of what you need is already there is the bathroom. But you’ll need storage shelves/drawer dividers and a shower curtain/rod. Floor mats are a must as well.

You’re looking at about $100 at least, depending on the quality of products you want to buy. If you need towels or other accessories, like soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, and cleaning supplies, the cost goes up.


Bedrooms, other than living rooms are some of the most expensive in the house. Mostly because of the mattress, which can run you $500 – and that’s on the low end. Most quality mattresses are around $1000 and up.

Even if you inherit or bring your own mattress, a bed frame is expensive as well. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Mattress ($1,000)
  • Bed frame ($500)
  • Night Stands ($250)
  • Dresser ($300)
  • Decor ($100)

That’s just for one bedroom. Granted, if you have children, smaller beds/mattresses don’t cost as much. You can furnish a kids’ room for about half of what it costs for adults.

But even so, you’re looking at $2,150 for an adult bedroom and about $1,000 for a kid. If you only have one child, furnishing the bedrooms will cost about $3,000. That’s a lot of money for somewhere you only use to sleep!


You may have a home office, which creates more cost. You can get a decent desk for around $200 if you don’t want anything fancy.

If you have a foyer or entryway, you’ll want at least a coat hook, if not a bench for shoe storage or stuff to organize your coat closet with.

And none of this includes decor, at least, not much of it. A nice framed print can cost you a hundred dollars or more, from Etsy or maybe $50 from a cheap furnishing store.

If you don’t have kids, the average total so far (without these other/accessories is approximately $6,000. If you have kids, you can expect to spend about $1,000 extra per.

And that’s still a low estimate. The average person spends around eight thousand on furnishing a first-time apartment.

Not All at Once

When you get your first home or apartment, it’s hard not to get everything at once. You’re excited and you want to “finish” your home. But the cost to furnish a house is a lot, so it’s better to do it in steps.

Just get the bare minimum first, and buy a piece of furniture every month or so, or whatever you can afford.

For design ideas, like things to put on your Pinterest board, click here.

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